NH clinics warning patients after meningitis outbreak

Posted: 10/04/12 at 12:10 am EDT      Last Updated: 10/05/12 at 6:45 am EDT

MERRIMACK, N.H. (WHDH) -- Two Pain Care Clinics in Somersworth and Merrimack, New Hampshire are warning patients that they've been injected with a drug that's being investigated as the source of a fungal meningitis outbreak.

Five people nationwide have died from the rare form of meningitis.

“We immediately called the patients as soon as we were given the clear by the state,” said Tom Barnes, Pain Care Clinic administrator.

Pain Care says it has learned that it used a steroid that's now being recalled to treat 186 patients for back pain. The drugs were among more than 17,000 vials of medication made by a Framingham company that are being investigated for contamination.

The New England Compounding Center has since surrendered its license and suspended operations.

“They are fully complying with all aspects of the investigation both at the state level and the federal level,” said Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, Mass. Bureau of Healthcare Safety.

The drug in question was sent to 23 states, along with New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island are also on the list.

Massachusetts health officials say the recalled steroid wasn't distributed in the state. Still, they're asking doctors to take extra safety measures while the Framingham pharmacy is under investigation.

“In exercising utmost precaution we are encouraging all healthcare facilities to immediately cease use of any product produced by NECC,” said Dr. Biondolillo.

There are no confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in New England.

Have a story idea or news tip for 7NEWS?

Email: newstips@cw56.com, or call us at 1-800-280-TIPS.